For more than two years, we’ve listened to argument after argument surrounding a proposal to bring a Sanderson Farms chicken processing plant to Southern Nash County.
We heard from people who supported the project and the jobs and economic investment it would bring to the area, and we heard from opponents of the proposal, who argued it would hurt property values, the water supply and the environment. Even though the company announced in November that it wasn’t coming to Nash County, many chicken plant opponents were skeptical and continued to speak out against the project.
The bickering and fighting have carried on for far too long.
We hope it will stop now that Sanderson Farms officials have officially announced their plans to build the company’s next chicken processing facility in Texas.
It is time to move on.
Efforts to put this behind us must include not only county leaders, but also the residents who campaigned against the project. Residents and Wilson city officials who launched lawsuits against the county in an effort to prevent Sanderson Farms from building in Southern Nash County also should play a part in the healing process. This also is an opportunity for recently elected Nash County Commissioner Lisa Barnes to step up and help mend some fences, since she based much of her campaign on opposition to the plant.
As long as the lawsuits against Nash County remain a point of contention, no one can fully move on. It’s time to let those go. Not only because the lawsuits involve a significant financial commitment from the county and the city of Wilson, but also because we are neighbors.
It’s time to start acting like it.
Regardless of the way the Sanderson Farms situation played out, Nash County and Wilson still have to work together in the future. In moving forward, the county and the region would benefit from a spirit of cooperation and collaboration rather than the divisive arguments that have been pulling us apart for the past two years.
Everyone who was involved with the Sanderson Farms debate was passionate about their feelings. Let’s harness that energy and enthusiasm and channel it into something positive to help move the region forward.